Thursday, December 26, 2013

Much Ado about BMI (Body Mass Index)

I learnt that the standard measure most health practitioners use is the body-mass index or BMI, which states a "healthy weight" falls within the 18.5-24.9 range of the index. Then again, I also learnt that the BMI has its own limitations as it doesn't take into much account body composition, body shape and lifestyle changes, as mentioned below.
"The formula used to calculate body mass index is flawed and skewed in favor of shorter people, says Oxford University mathematician Nick Trefethen. BMI is the standard tool used to assess healthy weight and the measure by which almost all obesity statistics are calculated.
The BMI formula — developed by a Belgian scientist, Adolphe Quetelet, in the 1830s — uses weight and height to calculate ideal weight. Those who fall within the 18.5-24.9 range of the index are considered to be at a healthy weight. A BMI of under 18.5 is considered underweight, a BMI of 25-29.9 overweight and a BMI of 30 and above obese.
The BMI has received quite a bit of criticism and scrutiny since coming into widespread use for both statistical analysis and as a proxy for health status. It’s that latter part that some take issue with — though the tool was never intended to be used in isolation for determining individual health status.As blogger Phoebe Maltz Bovy commented on Facebook:
“My impression is that BMI is about population-level trends, not whether any of us personally will get heart disease, let alone some kind of official statement about whether we do or do not look fat in those pants.”
In other words, while a BMI over 30 may be broadly associated with high body fat, obesity and/or poor health, not every individual with a BMI over 30 looks or is obese or unhealthy. As many critics note, the formula fails to take into account body composition, and there’s a big health difference between pounds of muscle and pounds of fat."
Read more:

Similarly, this website below said:

"2. BMI does not differentiate between apples and pears

For over 60 years, we have known that independent of how heavy a person is, the distribution of their body weight, or more generally the shape of their body is a key predictor of health risk. It is now well established that individuals who deposit much of their body weight around their midsection, the so called apple-shaped, are at much greater risk of disease and early mortality in contrast to the so called pear-shaped, who carry their weight more peripherally, particularly in the lower body. Thus, two individuals with a BMI of 32 kg/m2 could have drastically different body shapes, and thus varying risk of disease and early mortality.

Fortunately, a very simple measure allows you or your physician to decide whether your elevated BMI is of the apple or pear variety: waist circumference. Current thresholds suggest that a waist circumference above 88 cm in women and 102cm in men denotes abdominal obesity. Interestingly, for the same BMI level, those individuals with an elevated waist circumference have a greater risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, mortality, and numerous other health outcomes. Thus, as studies from our laboratory have consistently suggested, waist circumference may be a more important measure of obesity and health risk than BMI

Currently, most researchers would agree that waist circumference should be measured along with BMI to adequately classify obesity-related health risk. 
3. BMI does not always budge in response to lifestyle change

Given the number of papers my supervisor, Dr. Ross, and I have published on the topic, I would argue this is the biggest drawback of using BMI: it doesn’t always change even though you may be getting healthier. This is particularly so if you adopt a physically active lifestyle, along with a balanced diet, but are not necessarily cutting a whole lot of calories. This lack of change in BMI or body weight is all too often interpreted as a failure, resulting in the disappointed individual resuming their inactive lifestyle and unhealthy eating patterns.

However, as we have argued most recently in a paper in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology, several lines of evidence suggest that weight loss or changes in BMI are not absolutely necessary to observe substantial health benefit from a healthy lifestyle. Thus, an apparent resistance to weight-loss should never be a reason for stopping your healthy behaviours.

First, it is well established that increasing physical activity and associated improvement in cardiorespiratory fitness are associated with profound reductions in coronary heart disease and related mortality independent of weight or BMI. Second, exercise (even a single session) is associated with substantial reduction in several cardiometabolic risk factors (such as blood pressure, glucose tolerance, blood lipids, etc.) despite minimal or no change in body weight. Third, waist circumference and abdominal fat (arguably, the most dangerous fat) can be substantively reduced (10-20%) in response to exercise with minimal or no weight loss. In fact, significant reductions in fat mass often occur concurrent with equal increases in muscle mass in response to physical activity – equal but opposite (and beneficial!) changes which are not detected by alterations in body weight on the bathroom scale, and thus BMI.

So in the end, while BMI surely has its strengths in ease of use and pretty good reliability in large populations, on an individual basis, the greater focus should be on healthy behaviors: physical activity and a healthy diet. And if you must measure something, check your waist circumference."

Monday, December 9, 2013

Herbs for organs

I find this picture useful as a quick reference chart on which herbs are specifically beneficial for which organs. 

I noted that ginseng, ginkgo biloba, cayenne pepper and kelp are good for the brain, and I found out from this article some details on how ginseng and ginkgo biloba boost brain power. 

"Researchers showed that ginkgo biloba can improve the power of concentration, while ginseng sharpens up the memory.

The effect was even more powerful if the two herbs were taken together."

I noted that cacao, turmeric, motherwort and garlic are good for the heart. This article below says that turmeric appears to improve heart health as much as moderate aerobic exercise. I will keep in mind to continue eating food regularly with curry or spices that contain turmeric to enjoy such benefits, where possible. 

(NaturalNews) "A chemical that naturally occurs in turmeric root appears to improve heart health as much as moderate aerobic exercise, according to a trio of studies conducted by researchers from the University of Tsukuba in Japan."

Learn more:

I noted that mullein, yarrow, Yerba Santa and peppermint are good for the lungs, and milk thistle, dandelion, artichoke and burdock root are good for the liver (I think the shape of the organ looks like a liver, if I am not wrong). According to this article "Yarrow is also a great herb for the digestion, improving the circulation in and around the digestive tract as a whole". 

I also noted that Chamomile, licorice, goldenseal and fennel are good for the stomach, and ginger, bilberry, cranberry and astralagus are good for the kidneys. This article below elaborates by saying chamomile is effective in treating stomach and intestinal cramps. 

"Chamomile has been found to contain fairly strong antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory constituents and is particularly effective in treating stomach and intestinal cramps."

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Alleviating pain and enhancing beauty with acupressure

According to this informative article, there are seven key acupressure points that can be stimulated using the fingers to bring about the body's natural self-curative abilities. I learnt that these acupressure points are Zu San Li, Tai Chong, San Yin Jiao, Yang Ling Quan, Nei Guan, Lie Que and He Gu. 

TAI CHONG (Liver 3)

I decided to google some of these acupressure points to find out if there are pictures showing their specific locations in the body, and I find the diagram in this website useful to identify where Tai Chong is and I learnt it is also known as Liver 3.
"Liver 3—also known as Taichong (Chinese name), Great Rushing (English translation) and LV3 (acupuncturist lingo)—is located on the foot, between the first and second toes.
Liver 3 is what’s known as a source point. Every meridian has one. Source points behave sort of like central stations on subway lines. They are hubs where internal and external energies gather and transform. They are single, high-concentration points that grant access to the larger system.
Because Liver 3 has such far-reaching effects, it is indicated for a very wide variety of conditions. John Pirog, in The Practical Application of Meridian Style Acupuncture, says Liver 3 is “probably the most important point for stagnation of the inner body.”
Liver 3 is used for menstrual cramps, headaches, vision problems, coastal-region pain and shortness of breath, low back pain, insomnia, and more. The list truly goes on and on. Feeling stuck? Hello, Liver 3. This point gets things moving.
Liver 3′s extensive effects are palpable. Needling it usually causes a strong achy sensation, either locally at the site of insertion, throughout the entire foot, or sometimes even up into the leg along the Liver meridian."

I also find the diagram in this website helpful to locate Nei Guan around the wrist.
"Altogether, the Neiguan point is renowned to help to treat and manage:
  • Sickness and nausea
  • Chest and abdominal pains and problems
  • Angina
  • Stomach problems and upsets
  • Inflammation of the pericardium
The Neiguan acupuncture point is a very “balancing” point, which is why it can have a positive effect on a wide range of complaints and conditions that involve relaxing the muscles, such as those in the diaphragm and the chest."

HE GU (Large Intestine 4)

As for He Gu, I learnt that it is also known as LI4 (or Large Intestine 4), which can be stimulated to bring relief to pain and stress. 
"Chinese Name: Hegu (English translation: Joining Valley)
Location:  On the dorsum of the hand, between the 1st and 2nd metacarpal bones, in the middle of the 2nd metacarpal bone on the radial side."


Lie Que: Relieves sadness, grief and depression. The vibrant magnetic aspect of a woman suffers most from these emotional issues. Poor posture, respiratory problems, and various skin conditions may be prevented with the use of this point. The Lie Que point is located on the thumb side of the wrist, beside the head of the radial bone (just below the base of the thumb) approximately one inch from the crease of the wrist (toward the elbow).

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Health benefits of dandelion root tea and dandelion greens

I have checked out the article "8 Reasons to Drink Dandelion Root Tea", and I noted it has many health benefits, such as improving digestion, easing congestion of the liver, purifying the bladder and kidneys, reducing risk of urinary tract infections, purifying the blood, regulating blood sugar, improving blood circulation, easing bloating and aching joints, and curing skin conditions, besides containing calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, potassium, and vitamins B and C.

I also learnt from Adamo's website that dandelion is considered safe for blood type B. The description in the website also says dandelion can add interest to salads. I think I may have eaten dandelions before when I eat salads once in a while.
"The bright green leaves have a slightly bitter, tangy flavor that adds interest to salads. They can also be cooked like spinach. The roots can be eaten as vegetables or roasted and ground to make root "coffee." Though they're available until winter in some states, the best, most tender dandelion greens are found in early spring, before the plant begins to flower. Look for bright-green, tender-crisp leaves; avoid those with yellowed or wilted tips. Refrigerate, tightly wrapped in a plastic bag, up to 5 days. Wash thoroughly before using. Dandelion greens are an excellent source of vitamin A, iron and calcium."

Monday, August 12, 2013

Insomnia and Anxiety Help

 Chris shares a breathing and affirmation technique to help with insomnia and anxiety.

Intuitive Guidance - Ethical Sites at

Check out Chris's (pen name, Mystic Life's) book "Spiritual Polyamory" at

To see Chris's written works (pen name, Mystic Life) on spiritual and personal growth, visit
The speaker in the video suggests that we breathe in while thinking of the word "fine", and breathe out while thinking of the word "I'm". He said that by taking in the thought of "fine" with the breath, we are symbolically taking in the feeling of being fine, and we will start to feel better and more relaxed through this breathing and meditation technique.

He added that by repeating "I'm fine" in our thoughts, we are giving ourselves self-affirmation and allowing our mind to focus on this self-affirmation and prevent it from worrying about other things. He says that this breathing practice helps our entire body to function better, and by doing more breathwork in general and returning to the breath, we are oxygenating all the organs in our body, and improving the functions of our entire physical being. This is a good reminder for me to practise breathwork more often as well.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Psychiatry and Religion

Video information

Thomas Szasz is a psychiatrist and author well known for his criticism of the modern psychiatry movement. He has consistently sought to apply classical liberal principles (such as bodily and mental self ownership) to social science and also explored the consequences of mandatory institutionalization of persons the state deemed to be insane. In his book, The Myth of Mental Illness (1960), Szasz claims that psychiatry ultimately robs people of the responsibility of being moral agents by obscuring the difference between socially unacceptable behavior and disease.

In this lecture, given at the National Libertarian Party's Nominating Convention in 1983, Szasz compares the influence of psychiatry on the public with the influence of religion on the public (usually with the backing of the respective king or government body) during the Middle Ages. Szasz points out that the state's tendency to use science as a justification for trampling the rights of individuals today is much like the state's tendency to use religious justifications to trample the rights of individuals in days past. Szasz once wrote in 1974:

"Since theocracy is the rule of God or its priests, and democracy the rule of the people or of the majority, pharmacracy is therefore the rule of medicine or of doctors."
I have checked out the video in which Thomas Szasz observed how psychiatry is similar to religion in their use, or rather misuse, of power and authority, to abuse, control, manipulate and persecute those who are considered deviant. The addiction to power leads to corruption among the psychiatric authorities that seek to disempower people through mind control, ostracization, stigmatization and drug control. Just as those who are considered deviant by religious authorities are branded as heretics who commit blasphemy, those who are considered likewise by psychiatric authorities are labelled as psychotics who deny reality. Modern psychiatry thus has become a cruel state religion and social control system, as noted in Wikipedia below.

"Psychiatry's main methods are those of conversation or rhetoric, repression, and religion. To the extent that psychiatry presents these problems as "medical diseases," its methods as "medical treatments," and its clients – especially involuntary – as medically ill patients, it embodies a lie and therefore constitutes a fundamental threat to freedom and dignity. Psychiatry, supported by the State through various Mental Health Acts, has become a modern secular state religion according to Szasz. It is a vastly elaborate social control system, using both brute force and subtle indoctrination, which disguises itself under the claims of scientificity."
I also learnt in the website that Szasz "stated that involuntary mental hospitalization is a crime against humanity. Szasz also believed that, if unopposed, involuntary hospitalization will expand into "pharmacratic" dictatorship."

Modern psychiatry to me is an elaborate drug cartel that colludes with the governments and Big Pharma, which deserves to be criminalized for their inhumane and abusive ways against humanity.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Gluten intolerance and alternative food

I noted from this article "10 Signs You're Gluten Intolerant" that people with gluten intolerance need to avoid food containing gluten, which is "a protein found in wheat, rye and barley", otherwise they may develop symptoms such as digestive issues, chronic fatigue, hormonal imbalance, inflammation in joints, and anxiety. One person commented below the article that "Given that wheat, soy and corn are the top food intolerances AND are also the top GMO food crops, I'd say that has something to do with it." 

I learnt from the article that an elimination diet is the best way to determine whether a person has an issue with gluten. As for me, I have been eating bread every day and drink barley water on weekends, and I am monitoring my health at the same time to see if there are symptoms related to gluten intolerance. 

I also learnt in the case of gluten intolerance, a change in diet will be necessary, such as substituting wheat products with pure oats, for example. Eating eggs for breakfast is a healthy gluten-free meal too, which you have been eating. I learnt from this article below that it is recommended to eat 2 or 3 eggs per day, preferably those that are organic and pasture-raised. 
"There’s absolutely no reason to limit your consumption of eggs to three to four per week, as recommended by “heart-healthy” nutritional guidelines. In fact, consuming two to three eggs per day would provide a better boost to your health and protection against disease than a multivitamin supplement. Eggs truly are one of nature’s superfoods." 
(From "Three eggs a day keep the doctor away!" by Chris Kresser)

Monday, April 8, 2013

Coconut Oil Benefits

I note from this article that there are two kinds of saturated fats - naturaly occurring saturated fats, such as those in coconut oils, and artificially manipulated saturated fats, such as transfats, produced through hydrogenation, which are good for prolonging shelf life but not good for health. I think maybe that is why processed foods that contain artificial preservatives tend to be slightly cheaper than organic foods that do not contain artificial preservatives due to their longer shelf life.

I also note that coconut oils have many health benefits, such as improving heart health, supporting immune system, having anti-aging and regenerative effects when applied topically on the skin, accelerating healing and reducing risk of developing diabetes. As Dr Mercola pointed out, naturally occurring saturated fats do not cause heart disease, but rather unsaturated fats, too much sugar and processed food. Besides, coconut oil is best for cooking, instead of vegetable oils, such as corn, soy, and sunflower oil.

I think I will keep a lookout for coconut oil for cooking in future since the cooking oil we are using is vegetable oil, if I remember correctly - I googled about it and learnt that it may be available in organic health stores. I also learnt from this recent article that coconut oil is good for brain health too.
(NaturalNews) It's amazing how coconut oil has recently been acknowledged for the healthy oil that it is after having been vilified for decades as a heart attack oil. Now it's been discovered to boost even brain health.

Learn more:

Besides coconut oil, what are other healthy cooking oils?

Here's sharing this article on what are the healthy cooking oils which I find useful as a reference. Among the healthy cooking oils are lard (or organic ghee), virgin coconut oil and virgin palm oil, whereas the cooking oils to avoid include canola, peanut, and other vegetable oils.

According to this related article, the healthy cooking oils mentioned above contain low amount of Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) which are easily oxidized by oxygen and heat, hence they do not form much, if any, toxic lipid peroxides when heated, compared to the other oils that contain high amount of PUFA (above 20%). 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Managing arthritis naturally

I was googling about back pain arthritis, and I came across this video in which Mike Adams gave some useful tips on managing arthritis (if we happen to have this condition).

According to him, unlike cars, the joints in our body do not wear out with use over time. On the contrary, our body needs regular motion to increase muscle strength and bone joint mobility, so it is important for us to find a balance between exercise (such as yoga) and over-using the joints. In terms of diet, we can continue to avoid foods that are not designed for human natural consumption, including foods that we are allergic to, fried foods, GM wheat etc, to avoid or minimse inflammation in the body. We can also remember to drink adequate water to prevent dehydration and possible inflammation in the body.

I find this article useful in its suggestion of 21 natural remedies to relieve/treat arthritis back pain, which includes massage therapy, low impact activities, encouraging lumbar support (using pillows and cushions), moving regularly, not over-exercising, and so on. In my workplace, I use a cushion to support my lower back when sitting in my office chair, which I think helps prevent back pain. You could try that too, if you haven't done so.

This related website also suggests some arthritis natural remedies, especially for back pain, such as bathing with warm water with soothing oils to relax tight muscles.

Monday, January 28, 2013

TEDxNextGenerationAsheville - Birke Baehr - "What's Wrong With Our Food System? And How Can We Make A Difference?"

This 11-year-old boy was sharing his views courageously at a TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conference in August 2010 about what is wrong with our food system and how we all can address the issue by choosing organic food and farming over GMO food and industrial farming.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Natural remedies and prevention methods for flu symptoms


I was caught in the rain on my way home yesterday afternoon - though I was carrying the umbrella, the heavy rain and strong wind caused me to be slightly soaked by the time I reached home. I had runny nose, though there was no fever or body ache. I took a teaspoon of manuka honey at dinner time, and this morning when I woke up, my nose is fine. So you could consider getting a small jar of manuka honey from a health store too.
"It is no secret that honey helps to soothe the throat and ease the effects of certain illnesses during the cold and flu season. However, one type of honey is being used more successfully than ordinary honey. It has been discovered that Manuka Honey from New Zealand contains healing properties not found in other types of honey, making it extremely effective in treating a wide spectrum of health conditions
Manuka Honey's famed antibacterial properties are now being used in hospitals to ward off antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria that cause potentially life threatening conditions such as MRSA and VRE. In addition to its impressive antibacterial activity, studies have also revealed Manuka Honey's antiviral properties which make it effective in treating cold and flu symptoms.
For cold and flu symptoms, it is recommended to take one teaspoon of Manuka Honey, 3-4 times per day. It is also important to note that because Manuka Honey is an all-natural ingredient, it has been found to cause no negative side effects whatsoever when used for medicinal purposes. Manuka Honey could very well possibly be one of the single most healthiest things you could eat."
Natural Cold and Flu Remedy
"Manuka Honey is effective in treating, and minimizing the effects of the flu and the common cold. Soothes sore throats too."
I would usually take 1 teaspoon of manuka honey daily. It not only boosts immune system, but also speeds up healing. For example, my runny nose cleared overnight after taking 1 teaspoon of manuka honey, as mentioned earlier. Recently, it relieved me of sore throat within a day too.

On a similar note, this article suggests mixing honey with garlic to make garlic tea (for cold, cough or flu), or mixing honey with lemon (for sore throat) - these suggestions are for your consideration too.


Miso soup is good as a natural remedy for flu symptoms too, as it boosts immune system.
(NaturalNews) Miso is a delicious fermented food that has been eaten in China and Japan for many centuries. Today it is a favorite of health minded people in the West because of its many anti-aging benefits. Miso and other fermented foods and drinks help build up the inner ecosystem and assure the digestive tract is amply supplied with beneficial bacteria. These bacteria help digest, synthesize, and assimilate nutrients so necessary for good health and anti-aging. They also strengthen the immune system, keeping it at the ready to fight infection and cancer.
Learn more:

This website also recommends ginger, among other herbs, to combat flu.
Fresh ginger root (zingiber officinale) is a warming botanical that has been used as a medicine in Asian, Indian, and Arabic herbal traditions since ancient times (

Used for the treatment of digestive problems, stomach upset and nausea for more than 2,000 years, ginger has long been a popular natural remedy for a variety of ailments. A powerful anti-inflammatory, ginger has also been widely used for generations to help treat the common cold, flu-like symptoms, headaches and painful menstrual periods.

The warming nature of the root helps to produce sweating and thus helps to release pathogens. Ginger also helps to strengthen the immunity of weaker individuals who sweat without the relief of symptoms. (

A great herbal tea can be made for those trying to recover from a cold or flu by simmering a couple of cinnamon sticks and sliced fresh ginger in water for at least 20 minutes. It can also be taken in high-dose supplement form to aid the immune system in warding off and killing the flu virus.
Learn more:

This article summarises some suggested measures to boost the immune system and prevent flus, coughs and colds.
  • Include fresh, organic vegetables such as broccoli, tomatoes, chicory, cabbage, garlic, mushrooms and spinach in the diet as often as possible to boost the immune system.
  • Fruits to include would be lemons, grapefruit, oranges, bananas and dark colored fruit such as blueberries, black cherries, blackberries, black currants and black grapes.
  • Spicing up meals with ginger, cinnamon, cumin, oregano and cayenne will help to build the immune system in order to fight off colds and can even be taken at the onset of a cold to reduce the effects.
  • Drinking freshly squeezed lemon juice or tea helps to restore the body's pH balance. An imbalance of alkalinity creates a condition favorable to the growth of bacteria, yeast and unwanted organisms which thrive in a more acidic environment.
  • Drink plenty of pure water each day to flush the body of toxins. Drinking green tea, or Rooibos tea (African redbush tea) will promote overall good health.
  • Get enough sleep each night - research indicates that sleep deprivation can adversely affect the body's ability to fight infections.
  • Exercise regularly* - moderate, consistent exercise can lead to substantial benefits in immune system health in the long-term.
  • Control stress - Stress can raise cortisol levels and weaken the body's immune system, making it more susceptible to colds and flu.

(*Note: Do not over-exert yourself if you exercise. If you have a fever, it is better to get sufficient rest and wait for the fever to subside before attempting any strenuous exercise.)

If you happen to be travelling outside these days via public transport, remember to wash your hands when you return home or before eating meals as germs/bacteria/virus may be contracted from certain surfaces such as handle bars on public buses, subway trains, etc. I am reminding myself to do so too as I would start to have runny nose once in a while when I did not wash my hands after travelling on a bus and before eating a meal.

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